Before the Republic of Indonesia has it proclamation, South Sulawesi is include of a number of independent kingdoms and dwelt by four etnic, that is: Bugis, Makassar, Mandar and Torajans. There three big empires that have big influence, those are Luwu, Gowa, and Bone, which at XVI century and XVII century reach their glorious, and has trade relation with Europeans, India, China, Malay, and Arab.

After the independence, there is the constitution number 21 in 1950, which stated that South Sulawesi become an autonomous Sulawesi Province. In 1960 become an autonomous South Sulawesi and Southeast based on the constitution number 13 in 1960. The separation of South Sulawesi from the autonomous area of South Sulawesi and Southeast was declared by the constitution number 13 in 1964, so that it become the South Sulawesi Autonomous area of South Sulawesi.

Ujung Pandang is the main city on Sulawesi, originally known as Makassar. The court of the kings of Gowa was nearby. The people here are called Makassarese. The Bugis people are famous as sailors, and founded trade empires of their own. The most famous Bugis leaders were kings of Bone, which is called Watampone today. Bugis settlements have scattered as far as Kalimantan and Riau. The kings of Gowa and Bone did much to spread Islam through the area. The island of Butung or Buton did not submit to the Dutch until 1908. The Toraja people are the original inhabitants of the central part of Sulawesi. They are known for their unusual customs; today most are Christians. The Toraja also resisted the Dutch until the first decade of the 20th Century.

The arms were adopted in 1972. The arms consist of seven parts with each senses described as below:

  1. Five pointed star and its reflection: as a light to create the symbol for The One Supreme God.
  2. The circle of "unhealed rice and cottons". It consists of 17 unhooked rice-ears, 8 cottons with 4 toots on calyxes and 5 toots on cotton, which describes the 17th of August 1945 as proclamation day of Indonesia's independence.
  3. The vision of fort of Somba Opu from the air. The fort symbolizes the heroism of the South Sulawesi people. There are three halls of the fort and each load of:
    • A Phinisi boat symbolizing the spirit of seaman tenacity, full-militancy and capable to popularize the aim of the 17th of August 1945 struggle. The boat is directing western appropriated the capital of Indonesia.
    • The hoe symbolizes the agrarian community as basis and machine tooth symbolizes industries as principal supports.
    • The coconut symbolizes the natural wealth of South Sulawesi.
  4. An unsheathed small dagger between rice and cotton with pattern inherent five curves, which symbolizes spirit of heroism and alert in protecting the nation. The five curves are sacred numerals of each principle in philosophy of Pancasila
  5. Mountain, village, and pieces of rice-field for fertility, strive for justice and welfare community. The 23 pieces of rice-field is appropriate total of regencies in South Sulawesi as one of the rice-barns in Indonesia
  6. The motto in Lontara local characters means "Toddo'puli", which means firm in conviction.
  7. A ribbon inscribes Sulawesi Selatan "South Sulawesi as a province of Indonesia. The ribbon is in silk designed, which describes special characteristic and precious of culture since long time ago.

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